“Thus says the Lord,
he who created you..:
‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…
Because you are precious in my eyes,
and honored, and I love you,
I give… peoples in exchange for your life.
Fear not, for I am with you;
I will bring your offspring from the east,
and from the west I will gather you.
I will say to the north, Give up,
and to the south, Do not withhold;
bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the end of the earth,
everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made…’
‘You are my witnesses,’ declares the Lord,
‘and my servant whom I have chosen,
that you may know and believe me
and understand that I am he.
Before me no god was formed,
nor shall there be any after me.
I, I am the Lord,
and besides me there is no savior.
I declared and saved..,
and I am God.
Henceforth I am he;
there is none who can deliver from my hand;
I work, and who can turn it back?..’
‘I am the Lord, your Holy One,
the Creator.., your King.'” Isaiah 43:1-7,10-13,15
Surrounded by carved cliffs and arches and canyons, every vista was lofty, grand, broad, other-worldly, sublime. Up on a ledge nestled two bird friends, sheltered from the wind, taking in the infinite view, its majesty ordinary in their avian world. Safe and secure, they lingered long moments, seemingly without care at the Lord’s heavenly altar. Our God, mighty and transcendent, is very personal. None cares like He, unique and holy, Creator King, Savior, Redeemer, and perfect lover. (Psalm 84:3; Matthew 6:26)
Understanding how God loves helps us to comprehend who we are and why we are here. He fashioned and made us individually. He called us by name to be His children who are treasured, honored, and divinely loved. He instilled in us purpose, to glorify Him and be His witnesses, and saved us from destruction. He redeemed us. He seeks us out, and rescues us and those we love who are also His.
This unchanging God still redeems every flood and flame that would otherwise consume and destroy. He is alongside as we walk through troubles, sanctifying our distress and refining us in the fire of suffering and sorrow. Because of who He is, we can navigate our days in confidence and security. We are safe because He reigns on His unshakeable throne.
“Fear not, I am with you; O be not dismayed,
for I am your God, and will still give you aid.
I’ll strengthen you, help you, and cause you to stand,
upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.” ~ George Keith (1787)
So be it, Lord!